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In previous studies, stimulation of cultured enterocytes with IL-1beta resulted in production of IL-6 and complement component C3. The cellular mechanisms of these responses in the enterocyte are not fully understood. We tested the hypothesis that IL-1beta-induced C3 and IL-6 production is differentially regulated at the apical and basolateral membranes of the enterocyte. Caco-2 cells (a transformed human colonic carcinoma cell line) were grown in a 2-chamber system to full differentiation. The cells were treated with IL-1beta either at the apical or basolateral membrane, and C3 and IL-6 mRNA levels and release of C3 and IL-6 into the apical and basal chambers were determined. The release of C3 was greatest into the basal chamber regardless of whether the cells were stimulated at the apical or basolateral membrane. In contrast, the production of IL-6 was greatest at the cell membrane that was stimulated with IL-1beta. Stimulation of the Caco-2 cells with IL-1beta resulted in increased mRNA levels for C3 and IL-6 with no major differences noted when the cells were treated at the apical or basolateral membrane. The results suggest that enterocyte production and release of at least some acute phase proteins and cytokines are differentially regulated at the apical and basolateral membrane of the enterocyte after stimulation with IL-1beta.